The impacts of ITP 2.0 on affiliate marketing- And the solution

Tina Lakhani, Ad Tech & Standards Manager

What is ITP 2.0?

ITP (‘Intelligent tracking protection’) 2.0 is a setting change on Apple’s Safari browser that has meant that third party tracking cookies are now blocked as default.

Currently this is affecting the the Safari browser only, but Mozilla have also announced planned changes to Firefox that would have the same effect.

What does this mean?

Third party cookies are used by advertising technologies to identify users as they move around the web for a number of purposes, including user profiling, targeted advertising, conversion tracking and attribution. The implementation of ITP 2.0 prevents the storing of these cookies and means that carrying out these functions in Safari becomes more difficult.

Why is it a problem for my affiliate marketing?

ITP 2.0 has brought about challenges for all digital marketing channels. Specifically, for affiliate marketing, third party cookies are used to track a user from when they see an ad on an affiliate website to when they make a purchase on the brand’s site. If third party cookies are blocked, affiliate companies and third parties (such as affiliate networks) are unable to accurately identify the sales that an affiliate partner has delivered for their clients.

This means that affiliate marketing campaigns are continuing to drive sales for brands, but are not getting paid their commission as the sales are not being linked back to their activity.

This gap in performance data also causes a problem for brands as they are unable to accurately identify their best-performing channels. This is likely to affect their marketing strategies, and their ability to make informed decisions about where to invest their budgets to best meet their objectives, and so may affect the performance of their digital marketing in the longer term.

What should I do about it?

There are some relatively straightforward solutions available as alternatives to relying on third party cookies that would help overcome the problem. One solution is for advertisers to implement coding from their affiliate partner on their own website. The affiliate company can then identify and report back on the users that go to the advertiser’s site having visited their own site.

We recommend that advertisers and their agencies work with their affiliate partners to agree a solution and implement it as soon as possible.

You should also ensure that your privacy notice and any other GDPR compliance measures you have in place reflect changes to third party data collection on your sites, as appropriate.

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